Ruminating on the future of beef and dairy farming will be the topic of discussion at Alltech’s 5th Annual Global 500. The event will feature industry experts who will address the changing future of the dairy and beef industries. Last year’s event was a success with 700 attendees and they are expecting over 1000 this December 4-6 in Lexington, Ky.
“Global 500 has gone from a powerful event to an astounding event,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech. “In a few short years we’ve managed to get some of the industry’s most successful producers to attend and get involved in discussions that are paving the way to a future of opportunity and profitability.”
Producers and industry leaders will have the opportunity to network, discuss and discover new opportunities and challenges for 2013. The program will feature presentations on branding, social media in agriculture and finding new opportunities in challenging times. In addition to an array of presentations, attendees will be invited to take part in discussion dinners, breakout sessions and a number of farm tours.
Dairy producers will explore topics including breakthroughs in nutrition, strategies to manage feed costs, and emerging markets.
Beef producers will delve into issues such as the future marketplace, consumer demands, meat quality, greenhouse gasses and feed yard management.
Registration for Global 500 is $325, but for all those early birds out there register by November 9 for only $200. This will include all sessions, organized functions, luncheons and dinners. Register today and use the invitation code G124.
Meat packing giant BPI has filed a lawsuit against broadcaster ABC, three of its reporters, and others for “knowingly and intentionally publishing false and disparaging statements regarding BPI and its product, lean finely textured beef (LFTB).” This news release from BPI says the network and others launched a concerted disinformation campaign against the meat packer, costing the company money and 700 workers their jobs:
“For more than 30 years, our family has built and operated companies that are committed to providing consumers with wholesome, safe and nutritious lean beef. We’ve created thousands of good jobs for Americans and our lean finely textured beef has made the leaner ground beef that consumers desire more affordable,” said Eldon Roth, founder and CEO of BPI. “The blatantly false and disparaging statements made about our lean beef have done more than hurt my family and our companies; they have jeopardized the future of our employees and their families.”
In their complaint, filed Thursday in Circuit Court in Union County, South Dakota, BPI alleges that ABC and the individuals named in the suit knowingly made false, defamatory and disparaging statements regarding BPI and LFTB during a disinformation campaign this spring. These statements were made even after BPI and others sent ABC factual information about LFTB, including conclusions from USDA, FDA, food safety organizations and numerous beef industry experts that LFTB is a safe, nutritious lean beef. As a result of the disinformation campaign, BPI sales declined from approximately five million pounds of LFTB per week to less than two million pounds per week, three BPI facilities closed and more than 700 employees lost their jobs.
The suit is asking for more than $1 billion in compensatory and statutory damages, plus punitive damages. You can read BPI’s charges at www.beefisbeef.com.
Animal agriculture seems to be under a constant fire from those who don’t understand it. During the recent NAMA Boot Camp, Dr. Dan Thomson, Assistant Dean of Outreach and Professor at Kansas State University Vet School, addressed the basics of the industry along with issues and challenges so agri-marketers could help educate the growing population of non-ag consumers.
“I think the big thing is understanding the issues in agriculture aside from the current drought and other things like that. We are facing a constant decrease in the number of people directly involved in ag. We are becoming 2-4 generations removed from the farm, so getting our message out to the consumer, educating the consumer where there food comes from and down playing some of the myths that are sensationalized by non-ag groups are some of our bigger issues.”
During the 2012 NAMA Boot Camp a highlight for me was a breakout session on crisis management. Daren Williams, Executive Director of Communications for NCBA, spoke with attendees about the ins and outs of dealing with crises in the agriculture industry.
In my interview with Daren he shared his role of promoting the wonderful world of beef to consumers, how social media has changed how crises are handled and his simple motto, “Do The Right Thing.”
“The most important message I have learned throughout my career in crisis management is that it’s all about doing the right thing. If a company is committed to doing the right thing then you can get out and talk about what you are doing. When I say the right thing it may mean correcting the problem, fixing the problem or taking steps to make sure it never happens again. For example: you have a product in the market place that is faulty, you have to make it right by the people who were affected byt it. Doing the right thing is kind of my montra in crisis management. If you do right thing and communicate everything will turn out okay.”
In an effort to promote education about beef, NCBA, started the Masters of Beef Advocacy program to equip beef producers across the country in telling their story through presentations to schools and church/civic groups, in local media and in the “virtual” world of the Internet. Get your MBA for free and learn how to effectively answer the ever burning questions consumers are asking everyday.
More than 200 golfers turned out on behalf of the beef industry on the tenth anniversary of the Beef Bucks Golf Challenge—the largest number ever for the major fundraising event of Beef Bucks, the South Dakota-based volunteer-run beef promotion organization.
Sporting 52 teams, this year’s Beef Bucks Golf Challenge on August 17 at the Brandon Municipal Golf Course brought together beef producers, beef industry reps, and beef- supporting businesses, consumers and organizations for a day of golf, ending with a grilled steak dinner and auction.
Dollars raised through the golf tournament are used to fund scholarships for college or vocational school-bound young people with a background in the beef industry. Beef Bucks also promotes beef through a number of other promotional events throughout the year.
This year, the top dollar-generating auction item was a Lincoln commemorative rifle donated by the Henry Rifle Company and purchased by Daniel Holt from Fayetteville, AK. Other auction items included a basketball autographed by South Dakota’s-own Mike Miller of the Miami Heat, and a limited edition Bert Blyleven-signed Hall of Fame Induction print from the Minnesota Twins.
The first-place winning teams of the Beef Bucks Golf Challenge Championship Flight were: first place Pharmco Sod Busters; second place Yankton Livestock; and third place J & R Distributing.
Beef and dairy producers will have the opportunity to show wounded veterans their appreciation, simply by buying Cydectin® Pour-On from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, 2012. For each liter of CYDECTIN (moxidectin) Pour-On purchased, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. will donate $1.00 to Wounded Warrior Project™ (WWP). In 2011, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. donated nearly $200,000 to support Wounded Warriors through the Buck-a-Liter program.
The money raised through the CYDECTIN Pour-On Buck-a-Liter Program is used to help support WWP’s programs, which are uniquely structured to nurture the mind and body, and facilitate economic empowerment and engagement.
Producers are encouraged to visit their local veterinary clinic or dealer store to purchase CYDECTIN Pour-On from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 to support WWP.
Really? You know, it’s one thing to have a disagreement but it’s quite another to join with a wacko organization like H$U$. But that’s what the Organization for Competitive Markets has done according to a release I received from NCBA. So much for the OCM’s credibility. Don’t OCM members realize that their new partner wants to put them out of business? If HSUS has its way their won’t be any markets, competitive or otherwise. You can watch video from the OCM press conference here and here.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander expressed disgust following an announcement that the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) has formed a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to destroy more than 25 years of market development and consumer demand building by the Beef Checkoff Program.
Specifically, OCM announced yesterday evening that it will file a lawsuit today seeking an injunction against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. OCM President and Director Fred Stokes stated during the press briefing that HSUS is helping fund its efforts to file the lawsuit. OCM claims to advocate for a fair, competitive agricultural marketplace; however, in doing so it partnered with an organization known for its anti-agriculture agenda. According to Alexander, independent research shows the beef checkoff is supported by nearly 75 percent of cattlemen and women.
“HSUS is an organization going state by state vowing to end production agriculture by outlawing scientifically validated production practices in animal agriculture. Their efforts put people out of business and often jeopardize the well-being of livestock,” said Alexander. Continue reading →
Livestock and poultry producers are filing a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking a waiver from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in light of the current drought situation likely to cause feed shortages.
“I and NCBA support American ethanol,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president J.D. Alexander of Nebraska. “I’m not asking for a handout. I’m asking for the federal government to let the market work.”
John Burkel, Minnesota turkey grower and National Turkey Federation vice chairman, says he has already cancelled his last flock of turkeys for this year. “The ethanol waiver is a must and I hope the administration acts now,” he said.
“Relief from the Renewable Fuel Standard is extremely urgent,” said Past National Chicken Council chairman Michael Welch, President & CEO of Harrison Poultry in Bethlehem, Georgia.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association CEO, Forrest Roberts, gave a passionate speech this morning during the closing business session at the Cattle Industry Summer Conference. He encouraged everyone to keep “leading forward.” I visited with him beforehand to find out what his vision is for NCBA moving ahead and he focused on three key areas, Challenge, Change and Courage. He says one challenge is to motivate the millennial generation to enjoy beef since they think very differently about this great protein source than those in an older generation. He also says that NCBA’s number one priority between now and December 31 is the estate tax.
The environmental and health effects of livestock production and meat can be debated, but one fact is for sure – most people like to eat it.
A brand new Gallup Poll finds that only 5% of people in the United States consider themselves vegetarians – and only 2% say they are vegans who eat no animal products. According to Gallup:
Vegetarianism in the U.S. remains quite uncommon and a lifestyle that is neither growing nor waning in popularity. The 5% of the adult population who consider themselves to be vegetarians is no larger than it was in previous Gallup surveys conducted in 1999 and 2001. The incidence of veganism is even smaller, at a scant 2% of the adult population.
We get lots of vegetarian comments whenever we do stories like the one this week about USDA and Meatless Mondays. They tend to make claims about environmental and human health impacts that they call facts but are not necessarily true. This is a fact: People like meat. Thank God we live in a free country where people can choose to be vegetarians for whatever reason they want to be, but the problem is trying to force that diet down the throats of the rest of us, which is what the radical fringe of that 5% would like to do. Many of them would like nothing better than to shut down animal agriculture for good, and that makes it an agenda.
So, for the 95% of us who love our meat – let’s have some steak tonight to celebrate our freedom to do so!
Polly Ruhland, CEO of the Beef Board, is making a point in answer to a question during the first Beef Board business session in this photo. I spoke with Polly to get a better understanding of the new committee structure that was approved during that session.
Polly explains the process that led to the proposal for restructuring that was presented here. She says that “What the working group came up with was a structure that relies on the industry long range plan and consumer demand drivers.” It was a big step forward in focusing Checkoff work on consumer demand. Learn more about this in my interview with Polly.
During the Cattle Industry Summer Conference the results of the 2011 Beef Checkoff funded National Beef Quality Audio were released. It shows that progress has been made but that there is still room for improvement. To learn more about it I spoke with Tom Field, Director of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska. He’s a fifth generation cattleman. He was also integrally involved in the start of the NBQA. Tom was on a panel that presented the results during a media conference call.
Tom says the National Beef Quality Audit is meant to perform one main function, “In a multi-segmented semi fragmented industry to actually take the time and allocate the resources to stop, take our eyes up off the work we’re doing inside our individual sectors and actually ask questions up and down the supply chain with customers, vendors and suppliers – How are we doing as an industry?” Tom says there are a couple of key messages that came out of the audit. One was that each sector of the industry defines quality differently so there needs to be some consensus on that. Another item learned was that it’s not just a focus on a particular trait like marbling but also on the process since the marketplace is concerned about how animals are handled and processed. Additionally, he says that farmers are doing a lot of things really well but their biggest shortcoming was documenting it. He says that the overall quality of U.S. beef has improved.
The 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference is underway in Denver, CO. The opening general session is going on right now.
I’ll be Beef Board Blogging once again for the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and will have stories to share here on AgWired soon. We’ve got a Beef Board Update session coming up where I’m sure I’ll get some interviews to share.
This video is the work of Meat & Livestock Australia. I think it is probably more amusing if you know Australian politics since it is supposed to poke fun at two Australian politicians who rarely get along. Let me know if you know who they are in comments. But I guess there is a new season in Australia – Beefgiving Season. Beefgiving Season is turning the coldest season of the year into the warmest. Find out how you can warm up your own relationships this Beefgiving Day, July 14th at www.beefgivingseason.com.au.
We’ve cooked up a way to warm up winter’s coldest day.
A way to turn the year’s chilliest day into the warmest, as we heat cold relationships with hot meals of Beef.
So invite them all over for a hearty Beef meal this July 14th.
Because when it comes to warming up Australia, nothing beats Beef on Beefgiving Day.
As the amendments to the 2012 Farm Bill are piling up in the Senate, one of the more than 240 stands out as causing the most concern to many agricultural organizations, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and that is the rotten egg amendment.
A “dangerous piece of legislation” is what NCBA calls amendment #2252, put forward by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “This amendment actually codifies an agreement reached by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP) in July of last year that would actually for the first time ever have members of Congress involved in production practices for food producing animals,” said NCBA Executive Director of Legislative Affairs Kristina Butts in an interview today. “This really creates a precedent where Congress has never been before.”
The amendment was developed from a stand alone bill introduced in both the House and Senate this year that would set certain specifications for cage sizes of laying hens. The agreement made by HSUS and UEP to get legislation regulating cage sizes passed actually expires June 30, so Kristina says supporters are using the Farm Bill as a vehicle to move it considering the short period of time left before Congress adjourns for campaign time. “This is NCBA’s number one priority to defeat in the Farm Bill,” she said. “We’re not sure if this is one of the amendments that leadership will agree to actually have a vote on but our membership wants us to consider this a very serious threat.”
Work on the Farm Bill ground to a halt after Wednesday when just two of the growing list of amendments were considered by the Senate. Kristina says now it looks like it will be Tuesday before any more votes will be taken.
Locust Trace AgriScience Farm is the newest career and technical high school in Lexington, Kentucky with energy and environmental being key factors in the facility design and agriculture being the educational focus.
Locust Trace features spacious classrooms with adjoining labs, 6.5 acres for gardening, a state-of-the-art greenhouse with an aquaculture area for raising native fish, a soaring auditorium with a garage door for brining in livestock and machinery, an expansive equine barn and arena and an on-site veterinary clinic.
Students study in one of five programs: Intro to Agriculture, Environmental and Wildlife Science, Agriculture Power Mechanics, Equine and Vet Science, and Small and Large Animal Science.
The school is designed to be net-zero in energy through the use of photovoltaic solar panels and net-zero in waste disposal through the utilization of constructed wetlands. The school is also minimally hooked up to water municipalities. All the rain water is collected from the classroom building and the equine barn/arena to be utilized for all crop irrigation and livestock watering. An on-site well has been accessed to back up the rain water collection system in case of a drought. Sustainable agriculture is a focus in all programs.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Sara Tracy, who serves as the Community Lesion for Locust Trace, Brian Miller, Administrative Dean, and Danielle Milbern, Jr. at Locust Trace AgriScience Farm. They explain what it is like to work for and attend such a unique high school as well as a perspective into the diverse set of opportunities students can take part in.
Lyons-Blythe was nominated by her children (Meghan, Allie, Trenton, Tyler and Eric), and also by her aunt, Mary Ferguson, who she describes as “more of a friend than an aunt.” Both nominations summarized in 300 words what makes Lyons-Blythe so special to her family, farm, community and the agricultural industry.
Debbie and her family run Blythe Angus, near White City where her husband Duane’s family homesteaded in 1890. They raise 250 registered Angus cows and sell registered bulls, along with a commercial heifer development program. They also have a diversified cropping operation, including hay, for the cowherd. Although all five of her children help on the ranch, it is Debbie who provides the daily labor. Duane works in town and she said she is “blessed” to have a husband supportive of her passion for ranching. A graduate of Kansas State University, Debbie serves on the board of directors for the Kansas Livestock Association and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and is an active member of the American Angus Association. She authors an online blog, “Life on a Kansas Cattle Ranch,” with which she strives to give consumers a glimpse of life on a family farm.
The other four regional winners were Danni Beer, Keldron, S.D., Sherri Lynn Kannmacher, Martinsville, Ill., Sarah Peterson, Niles, Mich., and Delores “Dee Dee” Clements Darden, Smithfield, Va.
Two new checkoff-funded “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” online advertising video commercials will be making their world debut this week.
The first spot called “Island” is full of sizzle and beauty shot that brings our hero – beef – to life. The intended message – that Lean Beef has the power to elevate the everyday – comes through in a clear and engaging way.
The second spot called “Invitation” features a new child star who convincingly and earnestly conveys the message about beef. The spot’s message – that Lean Beef has the power to bring people together – is a feel-good message that will surely resonate well with consumers.
The new commercials can be seen on ABC.com throughout the top 10 ABC Network programs that score high against adults age 25 to 54. Programming will include shows such as: The Bachelorette, Castle, Grey’s Anatomy, Happy Ending, Last Man Standing, Modern Family, Once Upon a Time, Private Practice, Revenge and Suburgatory. The two spots will also be shown via a two-month long sponsorship of the ‘Moments’ sections of Modern Family and The Bachelorette, a popular feature on ABC.com.
The New York Beef Industry Council (NYBIC) once again invited more than 50 industry influencers to an educational veal/dairy tour of New York State. The dynamics of this year’s tour was different than the tour of 2010 as this year’s attendees were a mix of chef educators and their students. Six different culinary schools, along with food service, retail, dietitians and media, were present for a farm-to-fork look at the veal and dairy industries.
The tour discussed how the dairy industry impacts the veal industry, the aspects of group housing and feeding, veal nutrition, Veal Quality Assurance, Veal Issues Management, and Packer Processing, including inspection and grading. Center-of-the-Plate expert Steve Olson and Executive Chef Dave Zino conducted a 90-minute veal cutting and cooking clinic. After the lectures, attendees were sent to the “hands-on kitchen”, tied on aprons and cooked up a veal storm creating eight culinary dishes to be served for lunch.
Tours such as the one hosted by the NYBIC are a way for farmers and ag groups to showcase the transparency of the industry on a local level. It gives industry influencers (such as bloggers, media, foodservice reps, chefs and dietitians) a chance to freely ask questions and express their concerns over myths and misconceptions that are often portrayed about agriculture, which enables them to then communicate the FACTS with the consuming public.
“The carcass of the animal is being held under State authority at a rendering facility in California and will be destroyed. It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health. Additionally, milk does not transmit BSE,” said USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford. “Samples from the animal in question were tested at USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. Confirmatory results using immunohistochemistry and western blot tests confirmed the animal was positive for atypical BSE, a very rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Cattle Health and Well-being Committee Chairman Tom Talbot noted that BSE is fast approaching eradication worldwide. “According to USDA, there were only 29 cases of BSE worldwide in 2011, which is a 99 percent reduction since the peak in 1992 of more than 37,300 cases,” he said. “We commend USDA and animal health experts for effectively identifying and eliminating the potential risks associated with BSE.”
“American beef and dairy products are safe,” stressed American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman. “The safeguards our government has in place to detect any incidence of this disease are clearly working. The report of a cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, discovered during the pre-rendering process, is proof that our detection system works.”
USDA officials remain confident in the health of the national herd and the safety of beef and dairy products and will “continue to communicate findings in a timely and transparent manner.”